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Making a Complaint about Discrimination

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The Complaint Process
The Human Rights Tribunal

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The Complaint Process

Anyone can file a human rights complaint with the Human Rights Commission under B.C.'s Human Rights Code. You don't have to experience the discrimination yourself. Just being a witness or knowing about an incident is enough.

You must launch your complaint within one year of the most recent incident.

Once a complaint has been filed, it may be dismissed, or disposed of without an investigation. Or, if this isn't possible, a human rights officer will investigate the complaint and submit a report.

Then, all or part of the complaint will be dismissed or all or part of it will be referred to the Human Rights Tribunal for a hearing. A complaint can be dismissed any time after it has been filed.

The commissioner of investigation and mediation, a human rights officer or any person appointed, engaged or retained may assist the parties to a complaint, through mediation and other means, to achieve a settlement.

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The Human Rights Tribunal

The Human Rights Tribunal is an independent, quasi-judicial provincial body that adjudicates and mediates human rights complaints under the British Columbia Human Rights Code.

The Tribunal consists of a Chair, supported by full-time and part-time appointed members, a member/registrar, legal counsel, and support staff, headquartered in Vancouver. It conducts public hearings on complaints that have been referred to it by the British Columbia Human Rights Commission.

At a Tribunal hearing, the parties have an opportunity to present evidence to support their case. Hearings are open to the general public. The Tribunal member or panel issues a decision, with reasons.

Once the Commission refers a case to the Tribunal, The Code requires that the Tribunal hold a hearing unless the complaint settles or is withdrawn by the complainant. The Tribunal encourages parties to reach mutually agreeable settlements and may assign a mediator to assist them in formally resolving complaints prior to a hearing.

The Human Rights Tribunal is completely independent of the Human Rights Commission. The Commission receives and investigates complaints and, in some cases, refers a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal, which then conducts a hearing.

The Tribunal only adjudicates complaints that have been referred to it by the Commission after an investigation. The Tribunal does not have the jurisdiction to refuse to hear a complaint referred to it by the Commission. The Tribunal does not receive complaints from the generally public, nor does it investigate them.

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This page last updated: October 14, 1999
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